Critical Reaction: The Empire Strikes Back in Kabul?

On Friday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai gave an interview to Carlotta Gall of the New York Times, in which he blasted American and British conduct of the war in his country. Karzai said the Anglo-American powers should stop their incessant killing of civilians and quit conducting their "War on Terror" against Afghan villagers. Perhaps most remarkably, he called on the Western forces to stop targeting Taliban members and suspected sympathizers. The interview represented the harshest criticism he has ever levelled against the Western powers.

The very next day, in an amazing coincidence, Karzai was the target of a spectacular assassination attempt, on national television, with mortar fire and bullets raking a review stand at a military parade in the center of Kabul. Three people were killed, including a 10-year-old boy -- but Karzai escaped unhurt, as did the American ambassador, the New York Times reports.  

A purported Taliban spokesman later claimed credit for the attack, saying it was carried out to demonstrate that the Karzai regime could not provide security anywhere in Afghanistan -- even while surrounded by the military in the center of nation's capital.

We can only hope that this remarkable -- not to say incredible -- coincidence of events teaches the ungrateful Karzai some valuable lessons: He should not try to protect his people. He should not negotiate with the Taliban. He should never question the wise and benevolent policies of his imperial patrons. And above all, he should keep in mind one ever-salient fact:

Puppets are always expendable.